N.P. Dodge Park in Omaha closed Thursday in preparation for potential flooding along the Missouri River. Bellevue will close Haworth Park at 10 a.m. Friday. By Sunday, the river could reach 32 feet in the metro and remain over flood stage for several days.
“The safety of people using N.P. Dodge Park is our first priority," said Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert. Campers were notified to leave the park by Wednesday morning. They were offered campsites at Lake Cunningham or receive refunds. Boat owners were also notified the marina will close so precautions could be taken to protect and stabilize the docks. More than 340 boats are stored at the marina.
Campers at Haworth were notified Thursday and the city will attempt to contact campers registered for the weekend.
Freedom Park in Omaha would also flood again if the Missouri River exceeds flood stage. The park has been closed since the 2011 flood.
DeSoto and Boyer Chute national wildlife refuges north of Omaha will close starting on Saturday. All Papio-Missouri River NRD river access sites in Douglas County are closed. “We are keeping the access sites closed through this upcoming weekend as a public safety issue," said Papio-Missouri River NRD General Manager John Winkler. "These two rivers are running high and boating would be perilous at best. If the rivers return to near-normal conditions we will reopen the sites on Monday, June 23rd."
The closed river access sites include Platte River Landing near Highway 64 and Elkhorn River sites Elkhorn Crossing near 252nd Street and Bennington Road, Graske Crossing at Dodge Street and the NRD’s West Maple Road site.
The Omaha Public Works Department is also taking precautions at the Missouri River Wastewater Treatment Plant south of Veteran’s Memorial Bridge. Public Works Director Bob Stubbe said a four-to-five-foot berm will be built south of the administration building to provide protection to the plant area not currently protected by the levee.
Cities in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota are fighting a surging Big Sioux River after heavy rain this week pushed the waterway to record levels in some locations. The river, which converges with the Missouri River near Sioux City, runs more than 400 miles across eastern South Dakota and western Iowa.
In Akron, Iowa, a levee breached early Wednesday causing minor business district flooding, but a temporary patch is holding. In Sioux City and North Sioux City, South Dakota, officials are building temporary levees including one at an Interstate 29 exit where the interstate will serve as a levee. Interstate 29 from McCook Lake to Vermillion in southeast South Dakota is closed.
The river is expected to crest at 109 feet in Sioux City Friday morning, about a foot above the record set in 1969.